Procurement opens on Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop

8 December 2020

Australia’s state of Victoria has opened the procurement process for the Suburban Rail Loop – a 90km line around Melbourne that will increase links between the city and its hinterland, and which is hailed as the biggest transport project in Victorian history.

Expressions of interest were opened by the Andrews’ Labour Government for the biggest-ever initial and early works package on an infrastructure project in the country’s history. To kickstart the procurement process, the government has invested US$1.6bn for initial and early works packages, including the purchase of land required for TBM launches and to facilitate the creation of six new underground stations.

As part of Stage One, 26km-long twin-tube tunnels will be constructed across southeast Melbourne. Proposed station locations are at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill. At its peak, Stage One is expected to create up to 20,000 new jobs with construction work anticipated to begin in 2022.

So far, geotechnical investigations have seen almost 300 boreholes drilled and they will be followed by ground-testing programmes around the proposed station locations to determine the underground footprints and entrances.

Future stages – to be delivered over several decades – will see expansion of the line into the city’s northern suburbs, the airport and Werribee. When the 90km line is finally completed, it will form a broad arc around Melbourne and link-up with every major rail line in the region.